Not everyone is a Vincent Valentine fan. A character study in one act.
Marshall walked into the Night Flight and stopped just inside the door. The familiar sights, sounds and smells were exactly what he needed right now. It had been a long day.
The call had come in to the Shera at around seven o' clock that evening. A skier had hit the slopes outside the Icicle Inn. When it had started to get dark, the skier's sister had informed the staff that he was missing. They in turn, had put in the search-and-rescue call.
Fortunately the Shera had been close, and it was less than forty-five minutes from the time they got the call to the time Marshall had hit the ground. Unfortunately, it was already too late. A snow bank had sent the skier spiraling into a tree. Between the blood loss, the internal damage and the exposure, he had probably been dead long before the call had been made.
Although everyone told him that it was a part of the job that he excelled at, it was that same part that Marshall despised. As the resident medic and coordinator of the search, he was the one who'd had to break the news to the puffy-eyed young woman that her brother was gone.
When his shift had ended at ten o' clock, Marshall had realized that the Shera was close to Kalm. He'd grabbed a shower and threw on a pair of jeans, a grey zip-up turtleneck with a "Highwind" patch on the left shoulder that he had carefully sewn on himself, and a pair of black motorcycle boots. He hadn't been expecting trouble, but had decided to take along his sidearm, holstering the forty-five in the same style of thigh rig he wore when in uniform. He had been caught off-guard before, and the weapon's reassuring weight against his thigh was always a comfort. Catching a zip-line down to the edge of Kalm, Marshall had walked the rest of the way to the bar.
Standing there now, Marshall remembered those weekend jaunts from the ShinRa Medical Training Facility in what used to be Midgar. He smiled as a few memories of the wilder times they'd had there bubbled up to the surface.
Feeling himself relax, he strode over to the bar, and was happy to see the familiar face of Ozzy, the owner and bartender. He grabbed a stool and gave a small wave at the man, who immediately came over with his usual boisterous laugh.
"Heya, doc! Long time no see!" the man practically bellowed.
Fighting an embarrassed flush, Marshall grinned. "Hey, Ozzy. Still hosing the med students with seltzer when they get too rowdy?"
"Sure am. And don't think you're too big for a dose yourself, Mr. Chief-Medical-Officer-of-the-skies," Ozzy returned with a wicked glint in his eye. "How the hell did you swing that anyway? Conk ol' Cid upside the head with one o' those textbooks of yours?"
"Something like that. How about a drink?" Marshall asked, trying to change the subject. "I hope you're still carrying my poison in this dive," he jibed.
Ozzy made a face. "Doc, how you can drink that crap is beyond me. But yeah, I still keep it around, just in case your goofy green ass shows up."
The sturdy-looking bald man with the mustache reached underneath the bar and produced a plain-looking bottle that read, simply, "One-Thousand Needles," and had a picture of a running Cactuar on the label. He handed the green-haired medic an empty shot glass and twisted the cap off of the bottle, setting it down on the bar.
Marshall looked up with an eyebrow raised quizzically.
"Bottle's on the house, Doc. Good to see you around here," the man finished with a slightly softer tone.
"Thanks, Ozzy," the emerald-eyed man responded, pouring himself a drink. "I really needed someplace like this tonight."
He downed the tequila in one swig, slamming the glass on the counter and making a face. Distilled from actual Cactuars, the stuff kicked like a mule. He could already feel the warmth leeching from his stomach to the rest of his body.
With a thoughtful jut of his lower lip, the bartender nodded. "Seems like that's going around, tonight. You're not the only celebrity in here," he said, nodding toward the far corner. "Unless I missed my guess, that's Vincent Valentine over there."
Great/, the medic thought sarcastically, /my night off, my favorite bar, and the friggin' Reaper shows up.
He poured himself another shot. Maybe I'll get lucky and he won't recognize me.
His eyes crossed and focused on a stray wisp of his green bangs.
/Okay, maybe I'll get really lucky/, he thought, downing the second drink.